Masks – the new normal!

This morning, I grabbed my laptop, laptop bag, lunch box and ………. a mask! As of today, in Victoria, we all have to wear masks when not at home. This is rather alien to our culture – as we love to socialize, interact, show our faces as part of our communication and not be hampered by any involunatary extras.

This had a big impact on me. I no longer see my gorgeous smiling students. I cannot gauge how they are feeling as their eyes do not tell me enough. All I see is a sea of masks covering their mouths and noses!

Only a few days notice was given to this announcement, but students and teachers have all turned up to school today with masks on. There are a few exemptions for those with health issues. The law is that we need a face covering but most have gone for masks.The masks are in all shapes, colours and sizes. Some are wearing a scarf to cover their mouth and nose. Only a few are wearing disposable masks

As a teacher, we are do not have to wear them whilst actually teaching in the classroom or when eating or drinking but we must wear them at all other times – in the corridor, at our desk and out in the yard!

Problems: we are not used to wearing them and the vast majority do not want to wear them, so:-

  • takes a bit of used to for breathing in them.
  • self consciousness for a start. Students dont want to look different and some were shy etc However, as everyone is wearing them, they became more adjusted as the day progressed.
  • anyone with glasses finds their glasses can fog up.
  • hearing students voices is really difficult as many of them mumble at the best of times. We all have to learn to articulate our speech and to project our voice
  • some have found that the elastic on their masks is not tight enough so they fall off (We had spares at the office for those students).
  • some found the elastic was too small so they could not put it around their ears. Therefore schools need to have a supply of spare disposable face masks.
  • The mask elastic straps need to go over my glasses, so that my glasses do not fall off.

Other queries include:

  • health issues
  • looking after the mask so it is effective
  • where to dispose of reusable masks
  • how often should reuseable masks be worn

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